The New Year has traditionally been a time for many Americans to start new positive habits and end old negative ones. Perhaps this means cutting out coffee cake, eating more vegetables, or getting yourself to the gym. Or maybe something less measurable like being kinder to a loved one. Regardless of what you have slated, you should add one more goal: promoting gum health.

When thinking about oral health, many of us focus on the obvious: cavities, tooth sensitivity, or yellow teeth. A lesser known oral complication, however, is at least as important. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums surrounding our teeth, and when left unchecked, it can cause a whole manner of serious complications, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

To prevent gum-disease, try these three tips.

How to Avoid Gum Disease in 2018

Brush Your Teeth (and Your Gums)

The American Dental Association suggests you brush twice daily in order to keep your mouth healthy. Plaque hardens within 48 hours and begins to eat away enamel after 24, so brushing before you go to bed is advised.

Proper brushing technique follows a few simple rules. Make circular motions at a forty-five degree angle perpendicular to your gum line, and brush for at least two minutes. If brushing is difficult for you because of low dexterity related to other health issues such as arthritis, consider purchasing an electric toothbrush. It’s also important to make sure you’re brushing your gums as well as your teeth. But not too hard–brushing too hard can lead to receding gums.

Don’t Skip On Flossing

Although brushing is incredibly important, in can’t reach all the places gum disease forms. Gum disease is often the result of plaque that has become trapped between our teeth, and below the gum line. To properly clear these places of plaque, you must floss.

Flossing with perfect technique is tricky. A basic rule of thumb is trying to touch all surfaces, including below the gum line. Start with about fifteen inches of floss, gently insert between your teeth, and pull the floss back and forth in a waxing motion, taking care to dip below the gum line periodically.

Regular Checkups

Regularly seeing a dentist is one of the best things you can do for your mouth. All dental complications are progressive, and will become more dangerous, costly, and painful over time. By scheduling regular checkups and cleanings, your dentist can work with you to treat minor issues before they can become major complications. Periodontal disease, if detected early, is easily treatable.

If it’s been awhile since your last checkup, then it’s time to schedule an appointment. Please call (910) 392-6060 for a general dentist in Wilmington, NC, and Kuzma Advanced Dentistry will take care of you today.